From what I gather Stone brews this Belgium styled strong ale once a year (one month and one day apart from each other) hence the 08 etc numbering in the name. Once the batch is gone it's gone until the next year. I've had this one down in the cellar for a bit now and it was good as night as any to crack it open and give it whirl.
Translucent honey blonde in color with a good amount of carbonation. An almost two finger head holds on strong eventually fading a leaving thick lacing down the sides of the glass. The scent is pretty much what you'd expect from a Belgium ale. Banana, black pepper and a creamy malt base holding it all together. The taste is right along the same lines. A contention I have with a portion of American made Belgium ales is that it seems they get a little out of hand with the spices. Sometimes the the point where it seems they want all the attention and that the brew itself is an afterthought. This keeps that all in check. The requisite Belgium yeast spiciness is right where it should be but it's doesn't seem like somebody was there throwing nutmeg and cinnamon in it over and over again to give it "it's own thing" and that's cool. As it adjusts to the glass and room temperature it hints of green apple and clove rise a bit to the surface. The finish is medium smooth leaving a slight banana tinge down the throat. If it wasn't for a warming effect as it it goes down it would be hard to believe that this is pushing 9% abv.
Stone knows what they're doing when it comes to making good beer and this is no exception.